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Author Topic: Drivers fighting Banbury train station car park operator over "unfair fines"  (Read 1038 times)
Lee
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« on: April 15, 2019, 09:33:50 am »

https://www.banburyguardian.co.uk/news/more-drivers-fighting-banbury-train-station-car-park-operator-over-unfair-fines-1-8888331

Quote from: Banbury Guardian
More drivers have accused a car park operator at Banbury train station of ‘taking advantage of people’ by fining paying motorists.

So far, four people have gone public with their appeals against parking charge notices from Britannia Parking since it took over the Station Mill Approach car park.

The operator says the car park is clearly signed to meet the industry’s code of practice to highlight that it is no longer run by Chiltern Railways, but complainants disagree.

Shona Beard, who is fighting two fines from Britannia, said: “They’re trying to wear everybody down.

“I’m sure people have paid the fines as sometimes it’s easier as it’s taken me hours and hours of my time but I don’t like these companies taking advantage of people.”

Britannia says it has operated what used to be Chiltern’s West Car Park B for five months.

Since January, motorists have been complaining they had been slapped with fines as they had mistakenly paid Chiltern to park there as they claimed they did not know the car park had changed hands.

All argue the signage was inadequate – initially there were just slight changes to the original signs with the same colour and a couple of small notices on the entrance.
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Robin Summerhill
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« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2019, 09:46:16 am »

It all sounds rather odd to me.

How do these people physically pay the parking charges? If into a Pay & Display ticket machine then the money will go to whoever empties the machine which would presumably be a representative of the parking company. If by phone, ditto. If they are paying a real person such as a booking clerk then they ought to know if they should or should not be able/ permitted to accept the money.

Has anyone got any background to this?
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didcotdean
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« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2019, 10:11:01 am »

Maybe it is people buying a season parking ticket online through Chiltern (or more accurately from APCOA) who don't realise they are buying a ticket for a different station car park to the one they then park in. Possibly they used to be interchangeable. One of the complainants though has been charged for an overstay after midnight, which sounds like a difference in terms.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #3 on: April 15, 2019, 10:12:26 am »

For the record, nobody has been fined. Only a court can do that.

Folk have been issued speculative invoices (Parking Charge Notice) for perceived infringement of rules or alleged non-payment of parking tariffs.

With the Private Parking Company Britannia and Chiltern adamant that Chiltern do not have an interest in the car park any more (I suspect Chiltern do, having merely engaged Britannia to 'manage') then neither should have recourse to Railway Byelaws to enforce parking 'rules'.

What's needed is for motorists to start challenging the PCNs. Not just meekly paying up.
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stuving
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« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2019, 10:13:49 am »

It all sounds rather odd to me.

How do these people physically pay the parking charges? If into a Pay & Display ticket machine then the money will go to whoever empties the machine which would presumably be a representative of the parking company. If by phone, ditto. If they are paying a real person such as a booking clerk then they ought to know if they should or should not be able/ permitted to accept the money.

Has anyone got any background to this?

The quote from Britannia refers to "what used to be Chiltern’s West Car Park B ", and there are also a West Car Park A and an East Car Park that presumably remain operated by Chiltern. That sounds very like the situation with one of Wokingham's town center car parks (Cockpit Path/Denmark Street) where the site is split between council and private ownership. The private owners once leased their part to the council who ran it as one car park, then switched to a private operator, though access is still common to both parts. There has always been an issue with people who pay the council machine and park in the private part, iniatally by people who used it often and didn't see any new signs. Over the years signage has been improved, but it remains possible to pay the council machine (near the entrance) park further in (in the private part) and simply not look at the signs.

I would expect that users of station car park will pay remotely from the car park in some way, not at a machine (there often are none these days), but it may still be possible to pay Chiltern (who think you will park in their parts) and use a Britannia parking space. I am surprised not to see a complaint about Chiltern in that piece, who after all have taken payment and may have not done enough to explain that what has been paid for has changed.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2019, 11:12:17 am »

The quote from Britannia refers to "what used to be Chiltern’s West Car Park B ", and there are also a West Car Park A and an East Car Park that presumably remain operated by Chiltern....The private owners once leased their part to Chiltern who ran it as one car park,

As above, yes. Then Chiltern chose to give up the lease & the owners engaged Brittannia. Now not subject to Railway bye-laws as on private land. Initially, the signage wasn't good, but that sign tyou can see on a pole at the entrance has been there for at least 4 of the 5 months that Britannia have worked it. So anyone incurring a PCN recently doesn't have a leg to stand on, IMHO.

Chiltern operates RingGo as well as APCOA daily tickets (via ticket machines) and this will be how parkers there are probably paying for their parking. Britannia has only a ticket machine in the actual car park they run. Chiltern have put up the large poster in the booking hall, as well as A4-size signs on booking office windows.
I would expect that users of station car park will pay remotely from the car park in some way, not at a machine (there often are none these days), but it may still be possible to pay Chiltern (who think you will park in their parts) and use a Britannia parking space. I am surprised not to see a complaint about Chiltern in that piece, who after all have taken payment and may have not done enough to explain that what has been paid for has changed.
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